PHILADELPHIA - On Sept. 17, Judge Berle Schiller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania agreed with a hearing officer's ruling that a Rose Tree Media School District student’s attack on a classmate wasn’t a result of his disability.
Both the parents of the student who attacked his classmate and the school district moved for judgment on the administrative record as a result of the hearing officer’s decision. The court denied the parents’ motion and granted the school district’s.
The student, J.H., was 15 and a student at Penncrest High School. He had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Inattentive Type and a Specific Learning Disability in Written Expression. In March 2017, J.H. attacked a fellow student, leaving the student with a broken nose and eye socket, and a collapsed nasal cavity, an air pocket behind the left ear and a concussion.
The court determined the school district conducted a proper Manifestation Determination Review (MDR), when evaluating if J.H.’s actions were a result of his condition.
It also pointed out the hearing officer looked at footage of the incident. And while the plaintiffs said there was deleted footage, the court said it wasn’t buying the plaintiffs’ allegations.
The court also decided J.H.’s actions weren’t because of his disability.
“None of the evidence connects J.H.’s disability, or the manifestation of J.H.’s disability, to violence; at most, the evidence suggests that J.H. exhibits verbal aggression due to his disability-related frustration,” the court said as it also pointed out the victim never bullied J.H.
Considering all of this, the court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on the administrative record and granted the defendant’s motion.